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A crowd gathered in front of Metro Hall in downtown Louisville Saturday as students, victims of gun violence and politicians demanded what they called “common sense” gun control during the March For Our Lives rally.

This included measures like raising the age limit to purchase firearms, introducing red flag laws and strengthening the background checks used during firearm purchases.

Across the country, people amassed at their own March For Our Lives demonstrations.

The first March for Our Lives rally happened in 2018 and was planned by survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

This year’s protest is in response to a series of mass shootings in New York, Texas and Oklahoma that have left more than 30 children and adults dead.

“There are many avenues to recognizing how much of a detriment our current system is. If people in power continue to ignore the urgency, we’ll simply vote them out,” recent high school graduate Solyana Mesfin said.

Mesfin attended Eastern High School. Her classmate, Tyree Smith, was killed during a shooting at his bus stop last fall

“I urge policymakers to make an effort in valuing—not listening, but valuing—the perspective of victims, survivors, their families and communities,” Mesfin said during a speech at the rally. “I urge them to leave behind a rhetoric or agenda that prevents their contribution to the progression of gun control.”

Rose Smith lost her son, Cory “Ace” Crow, to gun violence in 2014.

She has since started the ACE Project in his honor to help curb gun violence.

“How many more mothers have to die, how many more fathers, how many more students and teachers and churchgoers,” Smith said. “Enough is enough.”

Smith is asking lawmakers to stop looking away from the country’s gun violence and take action.

“Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, but what we want is action,” Smith said.

Many of the event’s speakers called out Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for inaction on gun control legislation. 

“Single-handedly he could change this debate and get sensible gun reform going in our country—one person,” Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, said. “Senator McConnell, we need you to use the immense power you have to save life, choose life and stand up. Stand up to the gun lobby.”

Demonstrators marched to McConnell’s Louisville office to emphasize their calls for gun reform.

McConnell has said little about his plans to address national calls for stronger gun laws. He told CNN he had directed Texas Sen. John Cornyn to work on a compromise with Democrats.

Earlier this week the House of Representatives passed a gun reform bill. The bill, passed mostly along party lines, would raise the age limit to purchase a semi-automatic rifle and prevent the sale of magazines with a capacity more than 15.

Michael is a senior studying journalism and political science at Western Kentucky University and a news reporter with WFPL and KyCIR.
Breya Jones is the Breaking News Reporter for WFPL.